The New Creation Man
By Mary Kroeger
In Genesis 1:26 we read that God (Elohim) said, "Let us make man (mankind) in our image." Immediately this arouses our curiosity! Don't the scriptures frequently assure us that we have only ONE God? Yet here it speaks of a plurality. How can an image be created of spirit, for Jesus said that God is spirit? (John 4:24) What does spirit look like? Does spirit have form? How can an image be created of an invisible God? How can there be a plurality of Gods, when our one God already is everywhere and fills all things? So why did God refer to Himself in plurality?
Many claim that we have three Gods, namely, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three Gods who are one in purpose—the Holy Trinity! Again, we ask, do three Gods who are one in purpose, equal ONE God? Do three people who are united in one purpose, become one person? Can a spirit be rightly called a person? Is a word, a person or a God? Nowhere do the scriptures say, "God, the Word," nor do they say, "God, the Son." Is a word an entity on its own? A word has to be spoken by someone. Without someone speaking a word there is no word coming forth. A living word has to come out of life—from someone who is life! There is no death or separation in the life that God is, so we can see His oneness with His word!
What about spirit? Is the Holy Spirit a God in His own right? Can we rightly call spirit a person? For example, do we call an evil spirit a person? No, we say a person has an evil spirit. Nowhere do the scriptures call the Holy Spirit a person, so why should we go beyond the scriptures? Just because the Holy Spirit can be grieved, obeyed, give peace and joy, etc., and we see a resemblance between Him and humanity, does not give us permission to bring Him down to our level. The same holds true for God and Christ Jesus. In calling each of them a person, we are lowering them down to the human level. The truth is that God is in the process of ascending us into Him! His goal is to make man in His image. In Christ we see the finished product.
It's exciting to know that God is able to accomplish His desire! He has a plan, and His plans never fail! God made His plan known to us in the beginning. It was after He had spoken (the word that came out of Him) that creation came into existence. Next He said, "Let us make man in our image." Then, in John 1:14 we read, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." In Colossians 1:15-17 we see that the Word is also the Son. "He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." The Word God spoke is here identified as being the Son of God. At the same time the Word remained one with the Father. For the Word to become flesh, he Holy Spirit activated the Word, and the spiritual reality was manifested in the seen realm—in Jesus Christ! He is the perfect revelation of the invisible God! (Heb. 1:3) This revelation had to contain the oneness of the totality of God's being Jesus said, "Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) After Christ's baptism the Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove! In Jesus Christ, the perfect and complete image of the invisible God, we can learn to know our Father God! How we marvel at the infinite wisdom of God!
The ministry of Jesus Christ began after He was baptized and had received the Holy Spirit without measure! The Father then testified that He was His Son in whom He was well-pleased! Jesus testified His oneness with the Father, for He only did what the Father showed Him to do! He also stated that it was the Father in Him who was doing the works! What a beautiful example of the oneness of God at work!
God wants us to know Him! Knowing things about Him is not enough. There is no intimacy in that. He wants us to know Him in the intimacy of relationship! Since we cannot see the invisible realm, for this to occur, God has to reveal Himself to us.
Jesus taught this oneness when He told His disciples to baptize believers in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19) He did NOT tell them to baptize in the names of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. He said, "NAME," singular! In biblical language a name represents the nature of that person. For example, the angel said that Mary would bear a son, "and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21) He was to be called Jesus (Joshua in Hebrew) because He would be a Savoir. Baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit reveals ONENESS!
How can the invisible God be made visible to us? This would only be possible by creating a visible image of His invisible being. What must an image of an invisible God be like? It cannot be a reflection as in a n inanimate mirror, or a picture, or a statue or anything that is in the death realm. It has to have life! In fact, it must possess the very life of God!
The scriptures reveal that God is spirit. He never changes, for He always is! He is love, light, truth, peace and goodness! He is glorious and righteous altogether . He always keeps His promises . He is always against all unrighteousness! He has the ability to do His will! He is limitless in every aspect of His being and ability! This is the very essence of who He is! This is the image He promised to create!
How did He plan to do this? Since God is spirit, this man has to be a spiritual image. A spiritual image cannot contain any earthy components, for there is no dust or earthiness in God! This looks impossible to us, but God had a plan!
He planned that this spiritual image of God would be housed in a physical body, yet be completely separate from it. To create this image, God first formed Adam out of the existing dust, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and ne became a living soul. Notice that this man was Not a spiritual image of God. He was an earthy image, for he was formed of dust. In his ability to think, reason, worship and create, he was in the image of God. But he was formed of dust! So he could be influenced by earthy ideas, outward appearance, various philosophies, etc. God knew this. So He warned him, and sad that disobedience would result in death. Notice that He dud not mention an eternal torture in a physical burning fire—which He should have if this were the case. In spite of the warning, Adam sinned when he encountered his first temptation! Adam's will could be influenced, so he did not have a free will!
The spiritual image of God came in Jesus Christ! He did not sin even when He was subjected to endure the greatest degree of human torture known to man! He was mocked and reviled! He could have come down from the cross, but He remained obedient to the Father's will! The devil did his worst to get Him to sin, but he was unsuccessful! His sinlessness and His resurrection proved that He was the Son of Man in the complete image of God!
To first form a physical man was necessary in order to birth a spiritual image that was visible to humanity. This would require the combined effort of Father, Son and Holy Spirit! God the Father had to be willing to give His Son, the Word made flesh, to suffer and die a terrible death. The Son had to be willing to humble Himself, become the Son of Man, endure rejection, false accusations, physical torture, and become the sin-offering for the sins of the whole world! The Holy Spirit would enable Him to remain pure and holy in this whole procedure! God, in the three aspects of His revelation to humanity, would have to work together in order to produce this spiritual image of God called "man"! This unity was expressed when God identified Himself as "Elohim" and said, "Let us make man in our image."
Our human thinking is very limited, so God uses words and forms we are familiar with to reveal Himself to us. The scriptures speak of His eyes, ears, mouth, and body parts, so we put God into the form of man. But God is not physical; He is spirit! So we need to remember that these words symbolize a spiritual truth. They give us an idea of who He is and of His ability.
When believers receive their knowledge of God in their natural thinking, it does not change them. For example, God revealed to Peter, that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Yet later, Peter cursed and swore that he did not know Him. After Peter's human nature had been crucified with Christ, and his spiritual eyes had been opened, he was a different man! He was willing to die for his faith in Christ!
The natural mind is very deceptive. It thinks God should do its bidding and make life easy. It pictures God in human form, sitting on a throne in a far-off heaven somewhere. It cannot receive truth! Even though we have been born from above of an incorruptible seed, and received the mind of Christ, the natural, carnal mind remains as a squatter on foreign territory until it is overcome! In order to overcome the lies inherent in the carnal mind, our spiritual eyes need to be opened to see that the unseen realm in God is the reality! God's thinking is so much higher than ours! He wants to ascend us into the very essence of His life!
This ascension in the spirit transforms us into the very image of Christ, and brings us into oneness with Him! Paul said: "But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18) "He made Him who knew no sin to be a sin offering on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus had this in mind when He prayed, "That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me." (John 17:21)
How is this possible? How can we be one in Christ and in the Father, even as Christ is one with God? To understand oneness we need to recognize that oneness demands the sameness of being. If we mix a glass of impure water with a glass of pure water, the purity of water is lost. God never changes; He always is pure! So if we are to become one with Him, we also have to be pure. Our natural mind says this is impossible! It tells us that we still sin, and we will not become sinless until we get to heaven. It reminds us of all our failures and of our inability to keep our New Year's Resolutions! Our track record does not look very good, so agreement with our natural mind is easy. The question is, will we agree with the accusations of the enemy, or with God?
What do the scriptures say? In 2 Cor. 5:17 we read that we are a NEW creation. 1 Peter 1:23 tells us that we have been born of an incorruptible seed that lives and abides forever! An incorruptible seed cannot receive anything that is perishable, nor can it produce anything that is perishable! In 1 John 3:6 we read that, that which is born of God CANNOT sin!
This produces a dilemma in us. If we remain sinners after we have been born again, then of what value is our new birth—our birth from above? Many teachers tell us that although we remain sinners, that is, forgiven sinners after we are born again, our new birth secures a place in heaven for us after we die. This is the blessing that is waiting for us, we are told. Whom will we believe, God or the teachings of men? Let's remember that God is not a man that He should lie!
So let's look at the reality. Our new birth is from above, so it does not contain any earthiness. It takes us out of the Adam man and puts us into the Man Christ Jesus! In Ephesians. 2:10 we read that we are God's workmanship, created in Christ! Let's meditate on this wonderful fact. Is there any sin in Christ? Can anything sinful be created in Christ? Since we are created in Him, He is our protection on every side! He is our truth, our redemption, our wisdom and our sanctification! Can you see that being created in Him means that there is nothing of self in this new creation? There is no self-effort needed for we are God's workmanship!
This new creation is invisible to our mortal eyes. To truly believe that we are who God says we are, takes faith. We wonder how we can be born of an imperishable seed that cannot receive anything perishable, when we see the evidence of sin and failure in our lives? We are taught that our sinlessness takes effect after we die. As long as we live on planet earth, we remain sinners—that is , forgiven sinners. But this does not solve our problem. How can a forgiven sinner have oneness with Christ in whom there is no sin? This is impossible!
Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) The two do not mix! There is no earthiness in the Spirit, nor in an imperishable seed! In Romans 7:15-20, Paul explains that when we do what we do not wish to do, it is NOT the new creation that we are in Christ that sins! It is the flesh that sins! The new life that grows out of that incorruptible seed, needs to be watered and fed. After it has matured it will look just like the seed that was planted, and that seed is Christ!
In learning to know the very essence of God's being, we learn to know the essence of that which is born of God! The new creation man is born of the Spirit of God—born from above, born of an incorruptible seed that lives and abides forever! (John 3:2; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Peter 1:23) This man is a new creation—in contrast to Adam who was formed of the existing earth. In the new creation man there is nothing earthy, nothing that can be corrupted, for he is born from above! He is invisible to our mortal eyes. But in Christ we see him exemplified! In Christ we see the exact image of the invisible God. (Heb. 1:3) This is God's goal for each of us! Romans 8:29 says, "For whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren." Oh, what glory! We are to be conformed to the very image of the all-together righteous Christ! This means that the mind of Christ has become our mind, and we too only desire to fulfill the Spirit 's desires. We are no longer slaves to fear, for we have the spirit of sonship! His life and righteousness have now become our life and righteousness! To live according to the life He has given us, is our high calling in Christ! This is only possible in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit! God has promised that He will enable us and bring it to pass! It's so wonderful to know that He has the ability to keep His promises!
Since the carnal mind of death cannot understand spiritual reality, it always fights against the truth. It always either inflates the fleshly ego, or rehearses our failures and whatever we think we lack. The carnal thinking is loud, persuasive, and looks so right to us. The mind of Christ is so different! The voice of the Spirit is soft, and only speaks truth to us! We need to listen to it with a heart that is willing to be obedient! Truth resides in the unseen realm, so it can only be received by faith. This helps us to understand why it is so much easier for us to believe the clever lies that we thought were truth, instead of the truth that Christ is! Truth reveals and judges the lie! Truth has foundation; lies have no foundation and no reality.
Spiritual growth does not take place by dwelling on our failures, nor by listening to the taunting voices of self-accusations. Instead, it takes place by receiving God's forgiveness, and then overcoming all those unscriptural attitudes in the power of the Holy Spirit! All the thoughts that do not have their source in God have to be overcome. They need to be replaced with thoughts that come from the mind of Christ!
The mind of Christ resides in the new creation that we are in Christ. "But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Cor. 2:16) That mind only wants to do the Father's will! To differentiate between the two minds often looks difficult to us. We need to remember that the natural mind's solution always looks more attractive and pleasing to the flesh than God's solution. The solution from the mind of Christ requires the obedience of faith! Only the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth!
Since God's ways are higher than ours, we need faith to be obedient to His directives. Obedience requires the laying down of our own will and the acceptance of God's will as our will. It requires faith in God's promises, faith in His wisdom (to believe that He knows more than we do), and faith in the knowledge that He is who He says He is! Everything that is not of faith is sin! (Rom. 14:23) Therefore it is impossible to please Him without faith! (Heb. 11:6) We cannot increase our faith by our own works and by trying harder! Jesus Christ is the author of our faith! As we fix our eyes on Christ, we will hear His voice and receive faith! (Heb. 12:2)
In the life of Abraham we see how his faith grew. He became obedient to the extent of being willing to sacrifice his son —the son who was vital to the fulfillment of God's promises!
We too have to grow in faith! When the life that is in the incorruptible seed, grows and matures, it will look just like the seed that was planted!
Understanding and believing this great truth does away with our former concept of ourselves. We realize that we are no longer in Adam; we are no longer being held captive in his death! We no longer research Adam to ascertain who we are. We no longer call ourselves sinners, for God does not give birth to sinner children. We no longer walk in the pride of our fleshly ego, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. Neither do we see Christ according to the flesh—as a physical being. (2 Cor. 5:16)
Let's walk in the knowledge that we are a new creation, birthed from above—out of the life and love of Christ! We have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light—the kingdom of His dear Son. We have been changed from sinner to saint, from children of wrath to children of His great love, from death into life, from being engaged in evil deeds, to being holy and blameless and beyond reproach, from earthiness to heavenliness, and from earthy formation to new creation! This is God's great and amazing salvation for each of us! We praise God for His ability to create man in His image—enjoying the very life that God is!
At the present time He is at work in us, so that the glory of the Christ is in us, will radiate forth from us!